It began with the most personal of research. ‘What would my mother want’, Balfour Senior Living Founder and CEO Michael Schonbrun asked himself as he explored potential retirement communities for his fashionable, fun-loving mother. With his extensive knowledge of health care as former CEO of National Jewish Hospital, Schonbrun was obviously focused on top quality care. But equally important was a vibrant, thriving community that would allow his mother to continue to enjoy life to the fullest through the years. In the exhaustive search for such a place, the seeds of Balfour Senior Living Communities were sown.

Established in 1997, Balfour Senior Living Communities is a collection of soon-to-be ten coveted luxury retirement communities: eight in Colorado including in Denver, Littleton, Louisville and Stapleton; and a new Longmont, location scheduled to open in late fall. Individually and collectively, these elegant and comfortable communities debunk common misconceptions of aging in place as myth. Within each of the soon-to-be ten communities, an exemplary continuum of care offers the best in health, safety and style. “At Balfour, we believe health, safety, and good design can co-exist,” says Co-founder Susan Juroe, who leads design, offering thoughtful insight on the individual, overall look of each community.

When preparing for senior living, it’s all too natural to feel apprehensive. Anticipating moving from home can stir up wells of unpleasant emotions. These are compounded by preconceptions surrounding senior living as being discouraging. Balfour dispels those preconceptions with heartfelt care. Each Balfour location offers award-winning architecture and design that reflects the unique personality and history of its beautiful surroundings. In Littleton, for instance, the 75,000 square foot building’s barn-style exterior honors the city’s equestrian history. Inside, the theme continues, with reins, saddles and other related found objects adorn the lovingly prepared rooms and hallways alongside comfortably elegant luxury furniture, art and décor. In Longmont, the South Hover Street location will showcase spectacular views of the Front Range, with a unique design that incorporates Longmont’s history and local surroundings with thoughtful intent. “We truly care about our residents’ joy and happiness,” Juroe says. “We want everyone to be excited about where they’re living.”

If great food something you typically associate with ‘senior living’, Balfour will have you think again. In fact, the cuisine could well be the best you’ve ever tasted. Executive chefs are provided with large, well-equipped commercial kitchens from which to prepare their extensive, farm-to-table menus. All meals are made in-house from scratch, focusing on locally sourced, organic ingredients. Residents may always request gluten free, vegan and diabetic-friendly options.

What about keeping active? Having fun? Just like the physical surrounds and cuisine, Balfour goes above and beyond to offer rich experiences tailored to its residents. Opportunities abound to revel in life, from keeping physically active safely and to expanding minds. Well stocked libraries, a range of clubs and activities to choose from, ongoing social opportunities, on-site personal trainers and wellness experts are just a few of the many perks that residents can take advantage of according to their interests.

Of course, no amount of perks can take the place of quality care. The fact is, as we age, our needs change. At Balfour the fullest range of services is available to ensure residents continue to thrive and enjoy the community that is home. Residents can fully enjoy independent living, assisted living with access to skilled nursing, and Alzheimer’s and memory care, depending on their needs. This continuum of care provided is seamless — there are no dividing lines or barriers, just full attention to the individuals. “You have to care enough to create solutions to make a community feel residential, not institutional, throughout the whole continuum,” Juroe says. “At Balfour, we do.”

Over two decades in, Schonbrun has his answer. “I know what [my mother] would have wanted,” he says. “She would have been right at home at Balfour.”

> Learn more about the unique Balfour communities,

By Wendy McMillan, Photos by Balfour Senior Living